Why You Need to Be an Active Participant in Your Divorce
Only you know what you want for the future, so it’s important that you be as involved as possible in your divorce. Your divorce will have a lasting impact on your life, especially in the few years immediately following your split. If you agree to give up certain assets, those are assets your ex-spouse will have control over. Or, if you concede on certain child custody terms, it could lead to serious parenting issues later down the road. To make sure things go smoothly and that your legal actions reflect your wishes, it’s important for you to be an active participant in your divorce.
To be more involved, follow these simple tips for active participation during your divorce:
Give Your Attorney as Much Information as Possible
Finding the right attorney is the first step in your divorce – but your attorney can’t just take it from there. The more information you provide your attorney about your assets and your marriage, the more he or she has to work with. Ask your attorney in your first meeting what you should be collecting and documenting. Do what you can to gather all pertinent account information, documents, financial statements, tax forms, and other information about your children or your properties. If your attorney has everything they need, they will have more of an understanding of what you want and how to get it.
Whenever a question or concern comes up, make sure you communicate those issues with your attorney. If you don’t fully understand something, ask until do. Whether that includes clarification about your proposed custody agreement or an issue you have with the loss of a certain asset in your property division, make sure you communicate your concerns. Also, remain available. Talk to your attorney about your next move and what you can do to help things along. Even the most experienced attorneys can only do so much, some of the legwork simply must be done by the spouses filing for divorce.
Think About Your Financial Future
While the legal side of your divorce is in full swing, make sure you take the time to keep watch over your finances. Take stock of your savings account, your income, new living expenses, legal expenses, and any upcoming costs for your children. Remember, your financial situation will likely change after your divorce is finalized. There are several factors that could influence your finances, including spousal support, child support, living off a single income, and paying for rent or a mortgage on your own.
To prepare for those financial changes, and any potential upsets, make sure you set a budget for yourself and put aside a savings to act as a safety net.
Prepare Your Children
Make sure you take the time to prepare your children for life with divorced parents. While it might be easier to put those discussions off, making sure your kids are aware of the changes that are coming their way can make the transition less difficult for them. Talk to your children and make sure they know that you are there for them and ready to answer any questions or concerns they might have. You don’t necessarily need to keep your kids updated on the legal progress of your divorce, but if you and their other parent have decided how you’ll be splitting your parenting time, it might be wise to sit down with them and discuss how this change will work and when.
As you get your children ready for these changes, take their feelings and wishes into account. Think about what’s best for them as you go into discussions regarding child custody, visitation, or child support. Remember, this isn’t a competition. Focus on doing what’s best for your family.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
Dealing with a divorce can be extremely difficult. Not only are you dealing with a to-do list a mile long and worrying about your children, but you’re also dealing with all the emotional responses that come with a breakup. Make sure you take the time to deal with your own emotions outside of the courtroom, that way you can focus on being level-headed and practical when it counts. If you let your emotions get the best of you, you may say things you don’t mean, lose out on important negotiations, and make things more contentious and challenging.
Instead, try to deal with your emotions by discussing the issue with close friends, family, or even a therapist. Also, take some time for yourself during the divorce process and afterwards. Invest in a new hobby, hit the gym, or try picking up an old interest you’d set aside years ago. Whatever your method, just make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
The divorce process, in general, can be very complicated. While your lawyer is certainly the expert on the issue, you simply can’t leave everything up to them – they need you and your input. The more actively you participate, the easier your divorce process will be for everyone involved.Contact McKinley Irvin at one of our Washington locations to discuss your divorce case with our attorneys.